Here is my new article for Thought Catalog! You can read it below, or you can read it here on Thought Catalog’s website. Wherever you choose to read it, if you choose to read it, I hope you enjoy it!
Ladies and Gentleman, I once wrote an article for this site called “6 Helpful Tips For Tackling That Mess You Call Your Room (You Know You Need To).” As the title would suggest, quite obviously, it was about embarking on the adventure of cleaning and organizing your room, which is something I did upon my return home from college.
Once that task is finished, you sit there thinking, “Gosh, how did I let it get that bad? I’ll never let my room get that out of control ever again.” Then you go about your daily life, happy with how organized your room is and never having to worry about it again because you intend to (and will) keep that promise to yourself. Your room will never get that bad again. At least, this works for some people. Then, there are the people who wouldn’t have even had that problem in the first place because they never have let their room get that bad before. Good for those people, I applaud you. But I’m here to tell you that there is a whole other type of people, and for them, this doesn’t work. I am also here to tell you, I am one of those people.
These people can not, in fact, just make the decision to “never let their room get that messy again.” Whether they’re simply too busy or have a problem letting go of things, these people end up right where they left off; with a packed, disorganized room that has become less of a bedroom and more of an obstacle course (which could be considered a great way to stay in shape). Who knows, maybe you even secretly like it this way, because how else could you force yourself to exercise?
Whatever the reason, if you find yourself back to where you started with a room that is just as bad (if not worse) as the last time you cleaned it, you too are one of these people. Stuck in the endless cycle of organizing, letting things get messy again, reorganizing only to have it messier even quicker than before, and so on and so forth. You briefly (almost insanely), hear your mother’s voice saying, “If you just kept it clean in the first place, you wouldn’t keep having to do this. It doesn’t take that long to put everything back in it’s proper place after you’ve used it.” Once that happens, you know. You know you have reached the point of complete desperation if you are hearing your mother’s voice in the back of your head and you find yourself agreeing with it.
Want to avoid all of these things? Here are some tips to help you put an end to this seemingly endless cycle.
1. Trash It (Or Donate It)
If you’re never gonna use it, trash it. Now, I know you’re sitting there, thinking, “Well, I might use it if…” No. Stop it. If you find yourself trying to reason that you might wear it once if you attend this obscure event in the future that may not even happen, trash it. If it’s broken, trash it. If you can’t find a reason to trash it, or it could actually be useful to someone else, and you know you will never use it, then donate it. Either way, get it out of your room and out of your life. You have to be ruthless. If you can’t be ruthless, find someone in your life you trust who can be ruthless for you. You will thank me and them for this later.
Also, to avoid this in the future once your room is clean, if you are the type of person to repeatedly just stuff something away in your drawer that you know you will never use, stop that too. You should only save something if you have a really good reason. I know old habits die hard, but this one not only has to die, you have to murder it. Bringing home useless stuff and packing it away under the false pretenses is probably the biggest problem you have.
2. Give Everything A Place
When you are re-organizing and cleaning your room, you are not done until you have a place for everything. That place shouldn’t be in the middle of your floor or just wherever it may fall. It needs an actual place to rest when it is not in use. A place that is reachable if and when you need it (the more you use something, the more convenient to reach it’s place should be). This will cut down on clutter.
3. Replace Something After You Use It
I’m sorry to have to say this, but your mother is right. By extension, that means my mother is right. But I won’t tell them if you won’t, they never have to know. Seriously, though, not replacing things after you have used them is probably the second biggest contributing factor to your room gradually become a black pit of despair that swallows small animals whole. Dirty clothes don’t go on the floor. They go in the hamper. Those rings go back into your jewelry box, not on your side table. Your brush should not just sit in a spot close to where you last used it. All of your items need a place, and if you take the minute to put them there when you are done using them, not only will it help keep your room clean, but it will also help you find them the next time you look for them. Which, in turn, saves you time when you are in a rush.
4. Store It
If you can’t find a place for something in your room, and you do not need it anytime soon but you will for sure need it in the future (like furniture for when you move out) then store it. If there’s storage space somewhere in your house and if you have checked that it’s available for use (if you live with your parents or a roommate), use that. If you don’t have storage in your residence and you know you will need it in the future get a storage unit. If you can’t afford a storage unit, or if there isn’t enough that needs to be stored to make it financially worth your while, maybe ask a friend who wouldn’t mind storing it for you if you really can’t find a place for it.
These are just a few ideas that might be able help you become one of those people who can, in fact, keep their room clean once they’ve finished cleaning it. If you have any other helpful tips, let me know!